Brooklyn’s Akai $olo is an outlier as an MC who harkens to the spiritually-tinged records of 90s New York’s street conscious millieu. His tracks are more nuanced than today’s aesthetic-dependent “consciousness.” He’s generally too engaged in earnest contemplation for pretentiousness. There is a level of artistry and melody in his lyricism that affirms the value of the relatively barebones approach shown in songs like “Phase 4,” the de facto first single from his upcoming 2Gales project.
Over producer Kokiko’s warm synth melodies, Akai rhymes that while his detractors “go back to being a faded shade, he “simply [becomes] Blacker.” Over e-mail, Akai says that with “Phase 4” he longed to “incorporate anime and my personal experiences to start this endless foray of metaphors summarizing my world around me.” He delivers his rhymes in swift, fragmented bites which gradually divulge his esoteric worldview. His voice contorts and wraps around certain words, inflections that belie his emotional ties to the concepts.
“Phase 4” is a one-take stream of consciousness that reflects on the liberation that comes from self-regard. To those familiar, it should be evident by the title, which he noted means freedom in Supreme Mathematics. You can listen to “Phase 4” below.